Gstaad is truly a playground for the rich and famous. One of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world, this Swiss village started welcoming wealthy families from Hungary and Russia in the early 1900s. By 1912, the legendary Palace Hotel joined the landscape, and four years later, the prestigious prep school, Le Rosey, was established. The Palace Hotel continues to cater to well-heeled guests to this day, as does the Le Rosey prep school, and if you can afford it, staying in a private chalet is also a great lodging option. If your budget doesn't support such a move, there are moderately priced hotels in Gstaad Switzerland. You might also try to see what kind of deals you can drum up with the available vacation packages. The guesthouses are among the most affordable lodging options in general, and you might be interested to know that the village features some well-priced taverns as well.
Gstaad calls Switzerland's Bernese Oberland region home. There are other fantastic ski resorts to choose from in this region, including Murren and Wengen, but none are nearly as chic or exclusive. Fine dining restaurants, upscale shops, and luxury hotels are among the main fixtures, and the nightlife is generally upscale. Gstaad maintains much of its 1900's charm, adding to its allure, and as far as the skiing is concerned, visitors have one of Europe's largest ski areas at their disposal. Some 70 lifts are in place to get you where you want to go on the mountain, as are gondolas and mountain railways, and you can ski at an altitude of anywhere from 4,920 feet to 9,840 feet. Interestingly enough, in the higher elevations, it is often possible to do some summer skiing. Closer to the village itself, the highest run starts at an elevation of 6,445 feet. The elevation of the village itself is 3,440 feet, and the vertical drop is more than 3,000 feet.
Gstaad skiing can involve taking on glacier runs that start at 9,741 feet, and if you are an advanced skier, you can also enjoy the challenging terrain at the Wasserngrat area. At Wasserngrat, the steep slopes are often covered in powder. For beginners and intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders, the Eggli Ski Area might be the area of choice. It features the bulk of the region's intermediate and beginner-level runs. There is something for everyone when it comes to Gstaad skiing and snowboarding, and first-class instructors are in good supply should a lesson be in order. It is also possible to book a mountain guide for touring adventures that take you outside of the usual terrain.
As is true of most European ski resorts, Gstaad offers easy access to an extended network of resorts and villages. In fact, you can venture off to no fewer than six other resorts nearby. These other resorts include Saanen and Schonreid, to name a couple. When looking to combine some Gstaad skiing with some skiing at the other area resorts, all you have to do is secure a Ski Gstaad Pass. You can pick these multi-resort passes up at the regional funicular stations. Once you have yours in hand, more than 150 total miles of trails will be yours to enjoy. Unless you are only dropping into town for a day and don't plan on doing a ton of skiing, the comprehensive Ski Gstaad Passes are arguably the way to go.
The hotels in Gstaad Switzerland include some of the best luxury hotels in all of Europe. At the top of the list are the Palace Hotel and the Grand Hotel Park. The old Grand Hotel was actually built two years prior to the Palace Hotel. In 1990, however, it was torn down and rebuilt in fine fashion. Among the numerous highlights at the Grand Hotel is the Louis Vuitton boutique, which was the first boutique of its kind to be opened in a European hotel.
At the Palace Hotel, the facilities include a fine array of discos, bars, restaurants, and pools. You will also find tennis courts, and a salon, among other things. As for the guest units, they are exquisitely tasteful and plush, not to mention spacious. Whether you choose to stay at the Palace Hotel or the Grand Hotel Park, the experience is bound to be enjoyable. These hotels in Gstaad Switzerland are among the most highly sought after luxury hotels in the world for a reason.
Other hotels in Gstaad Switzerland that offer a considerable amount of luxury are the Wellness & Spa Hotel Ermitage-Golf and the intimate, eighteen-unit Hostellerie Alpenrose. If you're not quite sure that you want to stay in a hotel, an upscale Gstaad chalet rental can also make an excellent base. This village has some of the most inviting and upscale chalet rentals that you will find anywhere.